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How Much Does it Cost to Get Started in the Modeling Industry?

October 16, 2013 2 Comments

From Jeff, FL:

 What are the usual start-up costs for getting started as a model


Dear Jeff:

These figures are pretty general because every city has a different price structure for getting started.

You could spend $500 for a photographer, $100 for a makeup artist and $100 for getting head shots or composite sheets printed. This would be in a larger city. I would also recommend investing about $100 on materials. Things like a portfolio book, modeling books, and newsletters. Although, most of your photos will be in a jpg format, it will be good to also get hard copies of any modeling job you have and place it in a portfolio case/book.

In smaller markets, you might only need to pay around $250-$300 for a photo shoot. Instead of immediately printing head shots and comp cards, you might want to create 1 or 2 samples by simply printing them on a very high quality printer at a local printing store near you. That will allow you to spend a few dollars, show the photos to agents, and if they like them, then spend $50-$100 getting them printer by a specialty printer. If the agent likes you, but not your photos, then you were only out around $2.50.


If you read my book, How to Become a Successful Commercial Model, you will learn how to  get test photos free. Here is something you can try. Once you have read about how to put together strong commercial photos and really understand what you must do before a head shot session, then contact a local college or university and talk with an instructor in the art department. See if there are any photography classes.

Then contact the teacher and ask him/her if there are any students interested in putting together a strong commercial portfolio. The arrangement will be, you won’t charge the student your normal modeling fees, and the student will not charge you for the session. You might get some great photos FREE. The most important thing is to be able to tell and show the photographer how to create strong and marketable commercial photos.

This is the type of information you will learn from reading, How to Become a Successful Commercial Model.

So, if you follow my plan, you could actually get started by investing in my book and around $2.50-$3.75 in printing a sample head shot and or comp card.

About the Author:

Aaron Marcus has been a full-time actor and commercial model nearly 3 decades. His  book,  How to Become a Successful Commercial Model is now in its 5th edition. Aaron has given his seminar: The Best Way to Get Work as an Actor and Commercial Model over 500 times in four countries. He also offers online workshops. Aaron saves 4 days each month to give private on-line coaching sessions.

Comments (2)

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  1. Heaven says:

    Hi Aaron Marcus I am from Yonkers NY and hope you will see this. I’m working extremely hard to earn up the money to have a model scouts model profile, and also to arrange a one on one consultation with you. I just want you to know that I absolutely dream of becoming a model and I just don’t know how to create a portfolio and am scared to invest my money into creating a profile and not getting any results in ten days…is there any small advice I can get from you? Reason of me being scared is because I’m 19 years old living in my own apartment, paying my own rent and taking care of myself while helping others. I work in a school and work extremely hard to keep my head above water but soon one day I know I’ll be a successful model. Aaron Marcus I have so much respect for you please reach out to me if you can. Sincerely Heaven Rodriguez 🙂

    • aaron84 says:

      Hi Heaven,
      I have so much respect for not only what you are doing but how you are going about doing things. Don’t spend any money on a portfolio yet. Let me teach you how to create the right types of photos and even get some pictures taken free.
      If you are available on July 16th, I will have a great workshop in NY that will feel more like a private session ( but costing less) and I bringing in a great commercial agent to talk as well. You can get the details about the workshop by visiting
      My best advice right now is not to rush into anything until you get the right information.
      Best wishes.

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